This is part of a multi-part series authored by The Startup Collaborative cofounding team: The Death (or Evolution) of Startup Accelerators and Incubators as We Know Them!

Recently, we have tried to shed more light on why elements of The Startup Collaborative’s methodology has taken form in the manner it has. Stories about launching with at least 20 customers in mind, the importance of early messaging and the need for more prototypes before products have sought to lift the veil even more on what we’re doing.

We’ve been gunshy to share the exact expectations for teams within our fellowship program with non-fellows and non-venture only because we expected minor tweaks and improvements to the program early on. That’s in fact happened. We’ve honed outcomes and reset some of our initial core assumptions as we improve the model. Today, new fellows are executing against version 1.3 of the fellowship program. Other enhancements and upgrades will surely follow.

Our formula isn’t complicated or nuanced or exactly novel. It’s pretty basic stuff. Completely intended to show early signals of product-market fit. Here’s what we’re striving for – and what we expect TSC founders to deliver. Just the essentials – core foundations that every startup should have. No wonky, fake, or unnecessary tasks to complete.

LEVELS 1 through LEVEL 4 are meant to establish a rock-solid foundation. This isn’t the most enjoyable or glamorous phase of starting up. But startups that fail to test their assumptions in the market run the inevitable risk of building something that isn’t wanted or needed. A solution absent a problem is a tough sell.

To continue reading, head over to Silicon Prairie News!

Author // Erica Wassinger